AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - The Tigers headed into game three on Sunday tied 1-1 with host team Mississippi State, and ended the series with a win 9-2. This marks the first Southeastern Conference road series win for the No.18 Tigers this season. A complete-game effort from sophomore pitcher Maddie Penta was key in this victory.
"It was hot," head coach Mickey Dean said. "It was a long game. It was a crazy game. Every other inning, our offense was ready to explode. They did a really nice job. Maddie Penta really batted. I know she was tired. It's great to win a road series. It's been a while."
The right hander struck out 11 players, a season high and brought her season strike out total to 232, the seventh most in a single season for a Tiger. She is now 22-5 in the circle, tied sixth most on the plains for wins with Lexi Davis (2014). The Maryland native gave up just one earned run to the Bulldogs (29-19, 8-9 SEC), scattering seven runs and a walk over seven innings.
"It's been a while since we've put these types of numbers up in conference play," Penta said. "It shows just what kind of team we are. I'm glad we were able to bring that to the table today and show what we are made of."
Standout performances at the plate were critical for this bounce back. Nelia Peralta led Auburn with a 3-for-3 performance, slugging two doubles and a home run. The homer was Peralta's 10th of the season, marking the first time in program history that Auburn has had two freshmen record double-digit home runs in the same season.
"I was seeing the ball a lot better today," Peralta said. "I went up there looking for one pitch, and that's what I got. This team has brought out the best in me, and I am so thankful for them."
Makayla Packer contributed a multi-hit performance, adding a pair of singles and Lindsey Garcia turned in the lone multi-RBI performance driving in two. Bri Ellis picked up her 18th home run of the season historically tying Kasey Cooper for Auburn's freshman record. Ellis now also stands tied for fifth with Cooper in Auburn single-season history for total home runs.
The Bulldogs looked poised to score as they used a double, hit by pitch and an Auburn error to load the bases with one out. Penta battled back with a strike out and fly ball to left to leave the bags loaded. The Tigers answered immediately with a homerun to center from Ellis, a double from Peralta and Freshman Aubrie Lisenby pushed the Auburn lead to 2-0 with a single through the right side to score freshman pinch runner Rose Roach.
The Tigers were kept off the scoreboard until the top of the fifth. Packer started the momentum getting on board with a two-out infield single. Packer scored from first as the Bulldogs dropped a routine pop up at second.
Peralta led off the fifth with a solo home run, her 10th of the season. Paige Geraghty got on board with a one-out infield single before coming around to on a pinch-hit triple off the bat of sophomore Sydney Cox. Garcia made it a 9-0 Tiger lead with an RBI single up the middle.
With two on and down to their last strike, Mississippi State fought off the run rule as a Paige Cook singled to left was coupled with a Tiger error brought in a pair of runs. Penta secured the win in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Tigers will wrap up the non conference play of regular season with a midweek matchup against Alabama State. First pitch for Wednesday's game will be at 5 P.M. CT, streaming on Alabama State's Youtube Page.